Bio: VandeBerg, Renee (Biking/Italy - 1980)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: VandeBerg, Armellina, Gasse

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 8/07/1980

VandeBerg, Renee (Biking/Italy - 1980)

Renee VandeBerg, Clark County 4-H member and international 4-H Youth Exchange delegate, is due to return to Neillsville, this coming Satruday, August 9. Renee, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Russell VandeBerg, rural Neillsville, has been travelling throughout Italy since June. Supported by many business organizations, private donors, Homemakers’ clubs and 4-H clubs in Clark County, her trip is under the auspices of the UW-Extension Service.

Renee recently sent a report of her trip thus far. She reported.

“I met up with my first host family on June 27. I am living with Fausto Dall’ Armellina, 29, his wife, Alberta, 26, and their 8-month-old daughter, Milania. Their home is three kilometers from Mirano, which is the Veneto region. With them live Fausto’s gramma and grandpa, as in most Italian families in the country the grandparents live with one of their sons.

“Italia is known for being the number 1 bicycle riding area in the world. In the Olympics they are usually the gold medal winners. This greatness in bicycle riding was proven to me on Sunday, July 6. I have always knows Italians were great bike riders, for everyone from five years to 90 years old, rides bike; all you have to do is look at their well-muscled legs to know.

“July 6, though, proved to me how great they are. At 5:00 a.m., 14 men and one woman – a 19-year-old American girl who is also an IFYE ambassador and lives next door to me in Italy – awoke to get ready for a 130--kilometer race. One hundred twenty kilometers on straight fast ground (about 80 miles) and 10 kilometers up the side of a mountain to Castlemonte, about 5 kilometers from Yugoslavia.

“The first 120 kilometers were ridden at a fast and steady pace. My friend Terri – 5’ 11” and strong – kept up with the men’s fast pace. Her Italia father and my father stuck close by her to make sure all went well. In three hours they were all at the foot of the mountain. Fausto (my dad) gave Terri a hard push that put her in the middle of the pack of men and way she went up the mountain.

“Now I don’t know how many of you have driven up the side of a mountain, but let me tell you, they’re steep!! I rode up the 7 1/2-mile mountain ride with Alberta, my Italia ma. The entire ride up the mountain, I said to myself, ‘I can’t believe anyone walking up this thing, least of all riding a bike.’ At the top, where the castle was, one of the cars stopped and just couldn’t climb any further. It was pushed the rest of the 100 yards up the mountain. It took 3 1/2 hours for the first bikes to finish the course and four hours for the whole group to finish.

“Well, after these Italian men ages 23 to 60, finished this course and then walked around, rode their bikes some more, laughed and appeared as if they weren’t even exhausted, I knew then that it was true that they were the greatest bike riders in the world.”

Renee is anxious to be in touch with clubs and organizations wishing a program on I.F.Y.E. and her Italian trip. Those requesting such a program should contact: (Susan Grasse, 4-H and Youth Agent, Box 68, Courthouse, Neillsville, 54456, or call 743-3118.)



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